French newspaper: Mosul is suffering massive destruction, and these are the reasons for focusing on its reconstruction

French director Anne Poirier: “Mosul has been liberated, but at what cost? The ancient city, rich with a thousand-year heritage, is reduced to rubble.”

The writer Ilan Revodeau quoted – from the newspaper “Nouval ObservatorThe French – an interview he collected with the French documentary director Anne Poiret, who followed for a year the challenges facing the residents of Mosul in the Nineveh Governorate in northern Iraq to rebuild their city liberated from the yoke of the Islamic State, and the difficulties they faced.

Speaking about the reason for focusing on the reconstruction process in this particular city, Poireh said that many countries participated in the battles against ISIS, including France, and she believes that it is necessary to pay attention to what happens after those battles, and she wondered whether the battle against The state is profitable.

The director stated that, 3 months after the start of the international coalition’s intervention in Iraq to defeat ISIS, she tried to understand how the Iraqi state could control the second largest city in the country that was completely managed by ISIS for two years, from the water network and garbage trucks to the infrastructure .

Many promises made by the international community for the reconstruction of Mosul, but they do not rise to the level of challenges (Nouval Observateur newspaper)

ruins of the old town

“The city has been liberated, but at what cost? The old city, rich in a thousand-year heritage, has become a rubble – especially the famous district of the Maidan – which has been completely destroyed,” said the French director.

In the documentary, a local resident said that the grocery store he inherited from his grandfather dates back to the Ottoman era, “and only piles of stones are left of the antique and historic buildings.”

The director added, “I wanted to convey what we felt there, as the bodies remained stuck in the rubble. When one finds oneself in such a horrific place, one cannot help but be amazed at the scale of the devastation. I wanted to reflect that feeling; instead of conveying the information, I decided to photograph A documentary that addresses emotion and gives voice to the people.”

The city’s residents have been left on their own, why is the reconstruction process so complicated?
According to Anne Poiret, many promises have been made to the Iraqi people for the reconstruction of Mosul, and despite the many investments made by the international community, the European Union and France, they do not rise to the level of challenges. The post-IS era has highlighted the complexity of the situation, the high political stakes and the serious corruption problems.

“We reviewed the problems that officials face in Nineveh Governorate, and how suspicions of embezzlement have discouraged the international community from continuing to fund reconstruction projects, which has disappointed the population,” said director Anne Poirier.

The residents have experienced very difficult years under ISIS and during the violent liberation of the city. From 2003 to 2014, they lived in a state of complete chaos, the attacks were on a daily basis, and almost no journalist was able to reach the city.

Along with the revenge against the Islamic State and the battle for Mosul, the idea of ​​liberating the residents of Mosul from 15 years of stagnation arose. The city did not witness any bombings. At first, the residents enjoyed this new peace and became more accustomed to it, but after a while they realized that they had to fend for themselves.

Exclusive - The dome and the gate are all that remains of the Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul after it was blown upThe dome and the gate are all that remains of the Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul after it was blown up (Al-Jazeera)

Where did the residents go?

After the battle, most of the residents of the Old City settled in the parts that had escaped destruction in eastern Mosul. But since then, rent prices have increased significantly, forcing them to return to their ruined neighborhoods, where they live among the rubble and corpses, some of which later discover that they belong to a father, a boy or a brother, as the director puts it. Many of them also want to rebuild their homes and businesses themselves, so the director decided to include their testimonies in the documentary.

Through the reconstruction of the city, it is generally related to the reconstruction of Iraq, especially national reconciliation. The director stated that Mosul is a symbolic city, noting that political failure and corruption are only a reflection of national policy, and the situation the country has reached after ISIS.

Many Mosul residents also accuse the Iraqi government of abandoning them, as punishment for their support of the Islamic State. But at that time, part of the population received the organization with some relief due to the insecurity that prevailed in the city from 2003 to 2014.

She added that “many families who chose to join the organization are now living in camps and hiding from view.” Those (supporters) who obtained important social positions during the era of ISIS, are now moving like ghosts among the rubble. They are forced to hide, their children cannot go to school, and they are forbidden to collect the bodies of their dead.”

According to the director, this category of the city’s population feels humiliated, marginalized and retaliated, which is very worrying for the future of the Sunni-majority city, where Shiite factions operate many checkpoints.

Since 2003, Mosul has turned against the American invaders. Today, the Iranians have a strong presence in the region through the Shiite factions loyal to them. As the American forces continued to fight against ISIS, the director believes that the process of rebuilding this city has strong symbolism, especially the restoration of the Al-Nuri Mosque, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in June 2014.

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